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Ignore rumour of match-fixing, NNL tells clubs

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3sc. Photo: TWITTER/OFFICIAL3SC

The Nigerian National League (NNL), organisers of the ongoing NNL Super Eight Playoff in Enugu, has described as ridiculous the rumour of match-fixing allegedly involving two teams in Group B of the competition.

The NNL Super Eight Playoff involves eight teams drawn into two groups, with the first two teams in each group earning promotion to the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL).

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Group B has witnessed tough battles with 3SC, Remo Stars, Bendel Insurance and Ekiti United all vying for the two promotion slots.

In the opening games of the group, 3SC beat Bendel Insurance, while Remo Stars defeated Ekiti United 3-0.

The second-round matches saw 3SC and Remo Stars playing out a 1-1 draw, while the match between Bendel Insurance and Ekiti United was postponed due to a heavy downpour that made the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, unfit for football.

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Yesterday, an unsigned statement suspected to be from one of the teams in the group, alleged that Bendel Insurance and Ekiti United had perfected plans to fix their second group game in favour of Insurance, which, the statement alleged, are desperate for promotion.

The statement also accused the NNL of complicity in the alleged plot, adding that taking the last group game to another venue and off public glare is part of the league organisers’ plan to help Insurance gain promotion.

Reacting to the rumour yesterday, NNL’s Media Officer, Amar Ignis, said the allegation was baseless and aimed at inciting unwary fans against the body.

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Ignis, in a video made available to The Guardian, said the NNL had been neutral since the start of the regular season and the current Super Eight Playoff and accused those spreading the rumour as not only mischievous but also calculated to blackmail the league body. 

“As we always say, the NNL is the most important league in Nigeria because we are the chicken that lays the Golden Egg. We want to produce the best teams that will represent us respectably in the NPFL,” he said. 

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He explained that the plan to play the final group games simultaneously on different grounds is to ensure that none of the teams gained the undue advantage and not aimed at favouring any particular team.

Matches of the NNL Super Eight Playoff have been holding at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium Enugu, but the NNL has decided that one of the final matches will hold at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus. It will kick-off at the same time as the other game at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.

Ignis said: “The matchday three-game between 3SC and Ekiti United as well as that between Remo Stars and Bendel Insurance, will hold simultaneously in two different venues in the state to avoid any possible sell out.”

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